COVID-19

COVID-19 wage subsidy

How will the income support work?

  • An eligible employer will receive a subsidy of:
    • a weekly maximum of €410, where the average net weekly pay is less than or equal to €586 per week, or
    • a maximum of €350 per week where the average net weekly pay is greater than €586 and less than or equal to €960 per week.
  • The subsidy does not apply where the average net weekly pay is greater than €960.
  • The employer is expected to make best efforts (but not required) to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the subsidised period.
  • The subsidy scheme applies both to employers who top up employees’ wages and those that are not in a position to do so.
  • The employee must have been on the payroll in February 2020 and shown on the last payroll submission to Revenue which based on current commentary must have been filed on time.
  • The scheme replaces the previous COVID-19 Refund Scheme previously announced.
  • During April, the scheme will move to a subsidy payment based on 70% of the weekly average take home pay for each employee up to a maximum of €410 (Revenue had advised that further information will be available in due course).

Eligible employers?

Employers must self-declare to Revenue that they:

  • are experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19,
  • are able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue a minimum of 25% decline in turnover or customer orders, and
  • an inability to pay normal wages and other normal outgoings fully.

We await guidance on how employers demonstrate this to Revenue or how this might be reviewed, in due course.

To date guidance on the eligibility requirement is currently not very detailed. Companies should ensure as best they can that they will qualify for the scheme before making a claim. 

It is also unclear whether this must be viewed on a group basis or can be looked at on a company only basis.

This scheme is open to impacted employers in all sectors, with the exception of the public service and non-commercial semi-state sector, who retain staff on payroll. 

Some of the staff may temporarily not be working or may be on reduced hours and/or reduced pay.

It should be noted that it is proposed to publish the names of all employers who avail of this scheme on Revenue’s website, after the scheme has expired.

We would note that Revenue have indicated there will be severe penalties for any abuse of the scheme. 

 

Scheme duration

  • Scheme applies from Thursday 26th March 2020.
  • The scheme is available for an initial period of 12 weeks.

How will the scheme operate?

  • Employers will be reimbursed by Revenue via the payroll process, within two working days after receipt of the payroll submission.
  • Income tax and USC will not be applied to the subsidy payment through the payroll.
  • Employee PRSI will not apply to the subsidy or any top up payment by the employer.
  • Employers PRSI will not apply to the subsidy and will be reduced from 11.05% to 0.5% on the top up payment.
  • Employers must not operate this scheme for any employee who is making a claim for duplicate support (e.g. the Pandemic Unemployment Payment ) from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Detailed guidance as to how this is processed through your payroll is available on the Revenue website at the below link:-

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/covid19/temporary-COVID-19-wage-subsidy-scheme.aspx

How do employers register for the scheme?

All employers who have already registered with Revenue for the purposes of the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme are not required to do anything further.

The employer may make payroll submissions from 26 March 2020 under the subsidy scheme arrangements on the same basis as they were doing for the Employer Refund Scheme, and €410 will be refunded in respect of each eligible employee per week.

Employers who have not yet registered, or their agents, wishing to register for the scheme can apply to Revenue by carrying out the following steps:

  • log on to ROS ‘myEnquiries’ and select the category ‘COVID-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy’
  • read the “COVID-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy Self-Declaration” and press the ‘Submit’ button.
  • ensure bank account details on Revenue record are correct. These can be checked in ROS and in ‘Manage bank accounts’, ‘Manage EFT’, enter the refund bank account that the refund is to be made to.

Useful links

COVID-19: Wage Subsidy Scheme – FAQs for Employers

Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme Employer Eligibility and Supporting Proofs

COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment

COVID 19: Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

Revenue Measures to Support SMEs